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From Mirror.co.uk

Anthony Head

Anthony Stewart Head - Why Buffy Pin-Up Tony Is Still Single ?

By Thomas Quinn

Wednesday 10 November 2004, by Webmaster

FEW actors can boast a more devoted female following than suave heart-throb Tony Head .

His chiselled good looks and the endless resources of charm he has showcased in the legendary Gold Blend ads and hit US series Buffy The Vampire Slayer have turned him into a sex symbol on both sides of the Atlantic.

And now the roles of the smooth Prime Minister in little Britain and an endearing Jack the Lad in the BBC’s popular feel-good drama Monarch Of The Glen are raising his profile even higher.

Yet, strange as it seems, there is one woman who finds Tony utterly resistible - his own partner.

"Yes, Sarah refuses to marry me," he admits with a groan. "We’ve been together 21 years. She is one of those people who is immediately attractive and has extraordinary energy.

"We have two wonderful daughters and we’re a real team... But whenever I’ve mentioned getting married she says ’F*** off!’ and starts barfing!"

Far from it being a major problem, Tony gives the impression that he wouldn’t swap his life with Sarah for anything. Yet he remains hopeful that he’ll eventually lead her up the aisle.

"Well, we might have to because of this inheritance tax business," he explains craftily. "Because if I died without being married, she’d have to pay the inheritance tax on my estate."

We meet on the Monarch set in the Highlands, where the actor seems a little out of place amid the faded grandeur of the Duke Of Gordon Hotel in Kingussie.

He is dressed in jeans and T-shirt. It’s a cold, autumnal day but Tony has been standing outside for most of the morning in a depressing drizzle, in shirtsleeves because the script said Glenbogle was enjoying a sultry Indian summer.

He’s full of energy - he turned 50 earlier this year but could easily pass for 40. But when the conversation turns to his family, there’s a hint of sadness about him.

YET again, work has dragged him away from the home in Bath that he shares with Sarah and their daughters, Emily, 15, and 13-year-old Daisy.

During our interview, he mentions Sarah dozens of times - their first meeting at the National Theatre, where he was playing a soldier and she was working in admin; the amazing job she did raising their daughters, and her various words of wisdom.

He also marvels at her business skills. Sarah runs a specialist animal training centre near their home. Likened to "horse whispering", her Tellington Touch equine awareness method is a form of animal massage.

"The centre is doing unbelievably well and there’s a huge waiting list," says Tony. "Sarah’s amazing at it. For instance, she can tell how a dog behaves just by looking at its posture. It’s quite a skill." Sarah and Tony clearly give each other the kind of support that is rare in many marriages - let alone showbiz unions.

The really testing time for them both began in 1997, after Tony’s previously solid career had stalled. Prior to that, it had been relatively smooth sailing.

The young Anthony Head had initially flirted with becoming a full-time musician before taking up acting and starring on the West End stage. Later, he followed his elder brother, singer Murray, into the lead role in Chess and worked on various TV shows. He then bagged the starring part in the Gold Blend ads, in which he and Sharon Maughan flirted over the coffee granules between 1987 and 1993.

WHILE it turned Tony into a household name, the role also proved a big turn-off for British TV drama producers.

"The ads meant I was offered fantastic roles in the theatre," he recalls. "But as for TV dramas, my agent was told: ’Look, we don’t want viewers reaching for their coffee jars.’"

So typecast and desperate, fortysomething Tony eventually decided to pack his bags and go to America.

"Most actors want to do the States - it’s where they make the movies we’ve all grown up with."

While Tony did the rounds of auditions and meetings, and got used to being told of his near-misses, Sarah and the kids were back in Britain. "She had her life here and the girls were at school," he explains. "It wouldn’t have been fair to uproot them."

But there were many times he needed Sarah’s support. Finally, at his wits’ end, he took her advice and signed up for acting classes... but on the very same day, he landed the role of Rupert Giles, The Watcher, in Buffy.

He thought the idea of a vampire-slaying teenager struggling with the forces of darkness and puberty was the most original thing he’d seen.

After a shaky start - the pilot was notoriously bad - Tony’s instincts proved correct. The show ran for seven series and now the cast, including Sarah Michelle Gellar and American Pie’s Alyson Hannigan, are world famous.

There are dozens of fan sites dedicated to Tony and his Buffy character, which the actor finds both flattering and amusing.

But success meant five years of being in LA while his family were based in Britain. He ran up a massive phone bill, flew home when he could and somehow made it work.

"I found out that anything less than six days off in a row meant going back to the family was like an intrusion to them and worse than not going back at all," he says. "There were a few times when I wondered whether it was getting too difficult but the kids always said no, because the show is ’way too cool’."

And, of course, being American TV, they showered you in cash, I suggest. "The money really didn’t mean anything," he insists. "What was great was when the show came over to England and it became cool here, too.

"Daisy and Emily were also part of the set, which was like a huge family. Every summer holiday they’d visit. And Sarah Michelle and Alyson were like big sisters to them. It was wonderful.

"But the family thing and being away was extremely painful."

NOW based full-time in Britain again, Tony is enjoying family life and is thrilled that both his girls are considering acting careers.

So far, Daisy has appeared in two BBC kids’ dramas and Emily has won awards at drama festivals.

It obviously runs in the family. Tony’s mother, Helen Shingler, was a 1950s British movie starlet, while his father, Seafield Head, made documentaries.

Tony still shudders at the memory of being coached for auditions by his mother. "It’s hard to do these things in front of a parent and so I try to remember that with my girls," he says.

"Actually, both Daisy and Emily are really good. Eventually, I’d love them to go to drama school."

When he’s not making up for lost time with his daughters, Tony has been juggling an increasingly hectic work schedule.

He starred in two series of the sex comedy Manchild, playing an impotent lothario and has a recurring role on the comedy Little Britain that has given him yet more fans.

And then he was brought in to provide some old-fashioned caddishness to the Beeb’s Monarch series.

"My character, Chester, is a playboy, who’s there to stir things up between Clive Owen’s character, Paul, and Simone Lahbib’s character, Isobel.

"It’s a fun role because Chester is so confident and just goes steaming in to get what he wants. It’s great to be up here," he adds. "The cast are great and the location is beautiful..."

But this recently converted homebody has one reservation. "It’s a long way from home to get back for a day, should you suddenly have the time off. These days, I’m really sensitive about working away from home for long periods.

"But so far, I’m really enjoying it."

Monarch Of The Glen, Sundays, 8pm, BBC1.

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